Column: Moving Ahead, Not Looking Back

“You can’t think about, ‘Why me?’ You just have to say, ‘Let’s just get it done. Let’s just go. I have so much life to live!’”

That’s Jill Lustigman of Protravel, who generously shares in this issue how she recently battled breast cancer. It’s an inspiring story of hope, inspiration, and hard, cold facts about a disease that has affected many of those we know and love.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Travel Agent magazine annually features a profile on a member of the travel industry who has endured and triumphed over the challenge of breast cancer. For our eighth year of presenting this feature, Lustigman, a top travel advisor with Protravel, provides great detail of how her plight unfolded and how she dealt with each issue along the way. Her entire story begins on page 14, where you’ll read about her courage and her insistence that she would not be beaten back by this disease.

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Some of you will smile when you hear that Lustigman used those skills she has honed as a travel advisor to research her diagnosis and treatment in depth, so she could be as prepared as possible every step of the way.

“It’s all about the research,” she says. “If you don’t know what you’re talking about, then how do you have a conversation? As I say to my clients, ‘I can’t know everything about every place in the world. What I can do is find the best resource, learn what I can, and figure out who to trust to be your go-between. That’s my job.’”

Another message Lustigman shared was that it’s important to ask for help. The travel industry is a benevolent one, where we all see each other as colleagues, and often as friends and always have our hands out if assistance of any sort is needed.

“I couldn’t have done it without this village,” she says.

As in the past eight years, Travel Agent magazine is donating a portion of the proceeds from the dedicated “pink” ads in our “Pink Issue” to a cause of our “Pink Lady’s” choice. Jill has requested the funds this year go to the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai in New York City.

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